Online appointment scheduling can be simple and easy, or complex and difficult. Choosing the best online appointment scheduling system that meets your needs is the first step in transitioning to your long-term success. Here are some of the key points to consider when choosing a system that is best for you.
CHOOSE A FLEXIBLE APPOINTMENT SCHEDULING SYSTEM
Appointments for service providers differ among scheduling system professionals. An online appointment calendar for an accountant may look considerably different than it would for a healthcare professional. In this example, an accountant may book only a few clients a day, but a busy healthcare professional may schedule over twenty-five patients in a single day, including emergencies and “add-ons”. A comprehensive online booking system should not be rigid, but must be able to adapt to different circumstances, especially when accommodating emergency appointments or appointments that overlap because of scheduling issues. Many Internet-based systems fall flat when it comes to satisfying this critical requirement.
ADAPTABILITY IS CRUCIAL
Most online appointment scheduling systems fail to take into account varying needs of individuals who book appointments. For example, individuals without a computer or those who are not Internet savvy will still call your office for an appointment. It is highly inefficient for an office to have a calendar for appointments made online and a separate calendar for appointments made in person or by telephone. The best online appointment booking systems are able to seamlessly consolidate appointments made from a variety of sources into one integrated master calendar. It is a mistake to settle for anything less.
LENGTH OF APPOINTMENT
An Internet-based appointment system needs to take into account varying times allotted for specific types of appointments. For example, a comprehensive service may take one hour; a brief consultation or an appointment for an individual who comes to learn the results of an examination may take less than fifteen minutes. Your office needs the flexibility to designate the length of time for different types of appointments.
CHOOSING TIME AND DATE
Individuals who schedule appointments often go back and forth when choosing a suitable date and time. Rather than going through a lengthy back and forth exercise by phone, email, or FAX, an efficient online booking system allows for a speedy and efficient selection among open appointments. The best online appointment booking systems facilitate intuitive appointment scheduling. You don’t want angry individuals calling your office saying that they were frustrated by their unsuccessful attempts to schedule an online appointment with you.
Choosing the best online appointment scheduling system can make a huge difference in the efficiency of your office and the satisfaction of the individuals you serve. This creates an atmosphere where you and your staff focus on matters that are more meaningful and productive. Part B of this series provides additional tips for choosing the best online appointment scheduling system for your office.